The "Marco Polo".

The distinguishing feature of the Marco Polo is the peculiarity of her hull. Her lines fore and aft are beautifully fine, her bearings are brought well down to the bilge; thus, whilst she makes amidships a displacement that will prevent unnecessary "careening", she has an entrance as sharp as a steamboat and a run as clean as can be conceived. Below the draught line her bows are hollow; but above she swells out handsomely, which gives ample space on the topgallant foc's'le — in fact, with a bottom like a yacht, she has above water all the appearance of a frigate.

The Marco Polo is a three-decker, and having been built expressly for the passenger trade is nothing short in capacity or experiment. Her height between decks is 8 feet, and no pains have been spared in her construction to secure thorough ventilation. In strength she could not well be excelled. Her timbering is enormous. Her deck beams are huge baulks of pitch-pine. Her timbers are well formed and ponderous. The stem and stern frame are of choicest material. The hanging and lodging knees are all natural crooks and are fitted to the greatest nicety. The exterior planking and ceiling is narrow and while there has been no lack of timber there has been no profusion of labour.

The length of the Marco Polo from stem to stern (inside measurement) is 185 feet; her beam is 38 feet; her depth of hold from the coamings 30 feet. Her registered tonnage is 1625, but her burthen will considerably exceed 2000 tons.

On deck forward of the poop, which is used as a ladies' cabin, is a "home on deck" to be used as a dining saloon. It is ceiled with maple and the pilasters are panelled with richly ornamented and silvered glass — coins of various countries being a novel feature of the decorations. Between each pilaster is a circular aperture about 6 feet in circumference for light and ventilation; over it is placed a sheet of plate glass with a cleverly painted picturesque view in the centre with a frame work of foliage and scroll in opaque colours and gold. the whole panels are brought out slightly by the rim of perforated zinc, so that not only does light from the ventilator diffuse itself over the whole but air is freely admitted.

The saloon doors are panelled in stained glass bearing figures of commerce and industry from the designs of Mr. Frank Howard. In the centre of the saloon is a table or dumb-waiter of thick plate glass, which has the advantage of giving light to the dormitories below. The upholstery is in embossed crimson velvet.

The berths in separate staterooms are ranged in the 'tween decks and are rendered cheerful by circular glass hatch-lights of novel and effective construction.

The Illustrated London News, June 1852.

Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius.

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Copyright © 1996 Lars Bruzelius.